The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance is offering tips to help Americans avoid falling victim to charity scams taking advantage of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday.
Some scammers use this time of year to solicit donations from individuals who think they are giving to legitimate veteran and military-affiliated charities.
The agency recommends doing a little research before handing out your donations this year. The BBB's charity reports can be viewed at give.org or in a paper copy of the Wise Giving Guide.
The free guide can be obtained by sending an email to email@example.com or mailing a post card or note with your mailing address to: Wise Giving Guide, 3033 Wilson Blvd, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22201.
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has offered these tips for donating to veteransand military-affiliated organizations:
- Mistaken Identity: Watch out for nameconfusions. Many veterans' charities include virtually the same words indifferent order or slightly different form.
- Clear Program Description: Lookfor a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and onits website. If the charity says it is helping veterans, does it explain how(financial assistance, shelter, counseling) and where it is doing so?
- Telemarketing Cautions:Telemarketing can be a costly method of fundraising unless carefully managed.If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity'sprograms and finances before making a donation decision.
- On-the-Spot Donation Decisions: Be waryof excessive pressure in fundraising. Don't be pressured to make an immediateon-the-spot donation. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want tosend it.
- Donating Used Clothing and Other Goods: Findout how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothingand other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion ofthe resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get aflat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.
- Check with Outside Sources Before Giving: Inaddition to charity monitoring resources such as give.org, check with your state government's charityregistration agency, usually a division of the attorney general's office.